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Record $225 million fine to robocallers who sent out 1 billion calls

The robocallers used spoofing by making caller ID look like the calls were coming from another number, the FCC said.
Credit: tanaonte - stock.adobe.com

Two Texas-based robocallers who allegedly sent out 1 billion calls are being fined $225 million by the Federal Communications Commission. It's the largest fine in the agency's history.

The FCC said John C. Spiller and Jakob A. Mears, who used business names including Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom, used a technique known as spoofing. That's when the call comes from one number, but the recipient sees a different number on their caller ID.

The calls falsely offered short-term insurance plans from reputable companies such as Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield, the FCC said.

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Spiller admitted to making millions of spoofed calls per day, the FCC continued, and said he deliberately called people who were registered on the Do Not Call list. He allegedly believed it would be more profitable to target those people.

Rising Eagle made up a large portion of the approximately 23.6 million health insurance-related robocalls per day after a noticeable spike was seen in 2018, according to the FCC. 

The agency claims that Rising Eagle's spoofing caused one company to become inundated with angry calls from customers who didn't realize they were being victimized by someone else.

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